06 November 2011

Real Climate Walks Back

At Real Climate Stefan Rahmstorf has a non-responsive response to my earlier critique of the RC11 paper on the Russian heat wave. While he does not address any of my substantive critiques, he does walk back his earlier statements about attribution (video interpretation shown above;-).

Here is a quick rejoinder to the new post:

1. Red Herring - Stefan claims that he is accused of:
"hyping up the number of [heat] records." 
With this, he is introducing a red herring as his idealized ball and urn stuff is probability 101. It is not the paper's mathematics that are problematic, but its argument and conclusions.

2. Avoidance - By following the red herring, Stefan ignores the four cherry picks that I discussed in my critique: Linear trend, station, data set, and non-linear trend. But you don't have to believe me -- NOAA scientists have put up a devastating critique of RC11 here -- a web site that I see Stefan failed to acknowledge, link to or offer a response to.

3. Walk Back - Ultimately, Stefan takes a big step back from their original strong statement about attribution and how it impeached earlier research, now writing
"Our statistical approach nevertheless is not in itself an attribution study" 
 This is a big difference from what they had earlier claimed:
"With this conclusion we contradict an earlier paper by Dole et al. (2011), who put the Moscow heat record down to natural variability." 
Dole et al. was actually an attribution study. Logically, if RC11 "is not itself an attribution study," then it can hardly contradict the conclusions of Dole et al. on attribution.

Now Stefan seems to agree:
This method does not say anything about the physical cause of the trend process – e.g., whether the post-1980 Moscow warming is due to solar cycles, an urban heat island or greenhouse gases. Other evidence – beyond our simple time-series analysis – has to be consulted to resolve such questions.
So, Dole et al., while certainly not the last word on this subject, are not in fact contradicted by RC11.

Thus,we are all in agreement!